Time to say goodbye

Today, I’m announcing my departure as the president of GUPSA. After four yours of service, time has come for me to finish my thesis and make the next step in my career.

I joined GUPSA as the Nathan Campus Coordinator in 2011. At the time, our association was largely in a state of suspended animation. A lack of funding meant we did not have the means to deliver services or organise activities. Our role was constrained to providing advocacy.

In my second year at GUPSA, I stepped up to the position of treasurer. Together with our then president Maggie May, I convinced the university executive to let GUPSA share in the revenues raised through the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). The university executive not only agreed to provide funding, but also allocated a full-time support officer and a brand new office. This enabled us to bring GUPSA back to life and lay the foundations of what would rapidly develop into a vital part of the university life of nearly 5,000 Higher Degree Research (HDR) students across four campuses, including Logan, Mt Gravatt, Nathan and South Bank.

Best possible postgraduate student experience
When I became the president in 2013, I had a very clear goal. I wanted GUPSA to make a meaningful contribution to the best possible postgraduate student experience. I also wanted ensure that my 16 team members and other volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to contribute to our success received the opportunity to deploy their skills and talents to the best of their abilities and to make a real difference. Together, we developed a strategic vision outlining our mission, our key objectives and top priorities. Receiving more than twice the amount of funding than in the previous year, we consolidated what we had already accomplished and simultaneously developed new services and activities.

GUPSA is now a strong brand that seamlessly integrates with the Griffith University identity. Moreover, GUPSA has become a vibrant community. A growing number of HDR students participate in our activities. They rely on our services. And they know where to find us when they need help. They trust us. GUPSA is there for them. More importantly, they are GUPSA.

The future will be bright
I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far. Obviously, I would like to see our association to continue its upward journey. This requires a leader who is truly committed to your postgraduate student experience. It also requires a leader who not only has a vision, but also the knowledge and skills to turn that vision into reality. Practical expertise is not just an asset – it’s a must.

I’m very pleased that our current Nathan Campus Coordinator and fellow doctoral researcher Eduardo Jordan Pérez is standing for the presidency. Eduardo has been part of the GUPSA team for several years now and knows the association inside out. He also served as the National Secretary of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) which means he has an excellent understanding of the complex national political environment in which we operate. I strongly support Eduardo’s candidacy and urge you to do so too – with Eduardo at the helm, the future will be bright.

Annual General Meeting
Next week at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) you will get the opportunity to endorse Eduardo’s leadership. I look forward to seeing you there. Eduardo deserves your vote.

Wednesday, 18th March 2015
5.00 – 6.00 pm
Function Room, Unibar, N71, Nathan Campus, Griffith University.
Click here for more details.

Thank you for supporting GUPSA. It has been an honour and a privilege to be your president!


Niels Kraaier
GUPSA President